Pindari Glacier Trek via Dhakuri Pass

Pindari Glacier Trek or Pindar Valley Trek was perhaps one of the most popular treks in India back in the 80’s and 90’s. Apart from its picturesque trail, one of the main reasons for its popularity was the simplicity of “Tea House” style. People from different corners of the world came to explore this superb and classy trail. Although camping is the only way to complete this trek at present, that’s nothing short of a lifetime experience.

Pindari glacier icefall and Zero point
Peak panorama from Pindar valley

At the highest point, you see a remarkable view of the Pindari Glacier icefall and the surrounding mountain peaks (there are many of them forming the outer rim of Nandadevi Sanctuary, including Mrighthuni, Panwali Dwar, Nandakot, and Chhanguch). On top of that, we take the classic longer trail via Dhakuri Pass (also called Dhakuri Top), which opens a new vista of panoramas from the pass and subsequent points. From Dhakuri, we can witness the beautiful Sunderdhunga valley at its fullest, with a series of peaks on its head (some are Bhanoti, Tharkot, Devtoli and Devistan) combined with the adjacent Pindari valley.

From Dhakuri: Straight ahead is Sunderdhunga valley and on the right Pindar valley

 Pindari glacier trek itinerary: 

Day 1: Drive from Kathgodam to Loharkhet via Almora, Bageshwar and Song. 9/10 hours drive, ~ 180 Km. Tent. (~ 2000 m/6560 ft)
Day 2: Trek from Loharkhet to Dhakuri campsite via Dhakuri Pass/Khal (~ 2900 m/9500 ft) – gradual uphill till pass and then a descent to the camping ground. ~ 10 Km, 6/7 hours. Tent. ~ 2700 m/8850 ft.
Day 3: Witness the beautiful sunrise and start comfortably after breakfast. Trek down to Kharkiya, 3 Km and then trek to Khati village 4 Km and camp. Total walk, 7 Km, 4 hours. ~ 2200 m/7220 ft.
Day 4: Trek to Dwali, 12 Km, 6/7 hours. Camp ~ 2700 m/8850 ft.
Day 5: Trek to Phurkiya, 5 Km, 3/4 hours. Camp. ~ 3200 m/ 10500 ft.
Day 6: Visit Pindari Zero point (~ 3750 m/12300 ft) and return to Phurkiya ~ 15 Km, 9/10 hours. Camp
Day 7: Trek back to Khati via Dwali, 17 Km, 6/7 hours. Camp
Day 8: Trek to Kharkiya road head, approx 1 hour and drive to Kathgodam in 9/10 hours time.

Important notes:

  • You need to reach Kathgodam on Day 1 morning (latest by 8 am) or the previous night. Return to Kathgodam on Day 8 evening (by 7 pm). Arrange your tickets for inward journey and return from Kathgodam accordingly. We may arrange transport to reach Loharkhet and return but are NOT included in the TREK FEE.
  • A shorter itinerary excluding Dhakuri pass takes 6 days from Kathgodam to Kathgodam. You can directly reach Kharkiya by car and walk to Khati the same day. In 4 days you will trek to Pindari glacier Zero point and back to Khati. On Day 6 walk to Kharkiya and take a car to Kathgodam. Although we strongly suggest you cross Dhakuri Pass for fascinating views of Pindari and Sunderdhunga valleys together.
  • The route from Dwali to Kafni glacier is still not operational. The route was completely washed off during 2013 cloudbursts and yet to be reconstructed.

About the trail:

Loharkhet to Khati village via Dhakuri Khal:

On the first day of the itinerary, we drive from Kathgodam or the adjacent city of Haldwani to our base camp at Loharkhet. We drive through Kumaon, starting from the lower hills starting at Kathgodam, and then through Almora and Bageshwar town to the village of Loharkhet at ~ 2000 m/6560 ft. We set our tent beside the Forest Guard office.

Reaching basecamp Loharkhet above Song village

Our trek base, Loharkhet, is in the Bageshwar district of Kumaon division. It is on top of a ridge going straight up from Song Village, which is in Saryu Valley. Starting from Loharkhet, the Pindari glacier trail is broad and crosses the gentle Dhakuri Khal. Once we enter the Pindari River Basin, the trail gradually rises towards the Pindari Glacier.


As we start trekking from Loharkhet, we follow the broad trail, climbing steadily up towards the Dhakuri Khal (2902m/9520ft). It is a moderate steep ascent of almost 900m (2953ft) in 9 Km, and there is no water available en route. Situated on a forested ridge, Dhakuri is a broad pass that provides a wonderful view of some of the peaks on the southern wall of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary.

Climb begins from Loharkhet
Broad track to Dhakuri Khal
Views on the way to Dhakuri khal

As we descend from the pass, we will find the Dhakuri rest house, 2 Km lower down at ~ 2700m/8860ft, about an hour away. A lovely forest with summer strawberries surrounds the rest houses and adjacent camping ground. Moreover, the view of the Sunderdhunga valley and the peaks on its head is breathtaking.


On the following day, the trail continues its winding path downward through the forest. Once it reaches the valley’s lowest point, the trail turns towards the east, leading to Khati, the largest village in the region, situated at an altitude of ~ 2050 m/6725 ft.

Sunderdhunga valley from Jaikuni village
Khati village

The inhabitants of these villages have regular communication with each other, and there are several smaller crossings towards the ridge in the east, such as Dhakuri Khal. For instance, Khati Khal (3000 m/9840 ft), which locals use to reach Juni in Saryu Valley. These crossings are alluring and can be easily undertaken with a guide, allowing trekkers to connect with longer treks, such as Saryu to Ram Ganga Valley.

Khati village to Pindar valley head and return to Khati

The Pindari Valley’s head is located about two days’ trek away from Khati, which means a round trip takes four days. We start our journey from Khati and trek gradually towards Dwali, located approximately 12 Km away along the valley at an altitude of ~2910m/9550ft. This place is a confluence where a side stream from Kafni Glacier meets Pindar. Beautiful camping ground adjacent to desolated KMVN. and PWD huts.

Dwali (ahead is the side valley to Kafni glacier)

The second stretch is a relatively shorter walk to Phurkiya (3200 m/10510 ft) in the valley 5 Km further ahead. The camping ground is on the true left of Pindar, again accompanied by a desolated Forest Rest House (FRH)/PWD hut. The next day, early in the morning, we start to get a view of the Pindari icefall, which is about 500 m wide and about 4km long. We continue to Zero Point (3750 m/12300 ft), a place marked on the lateral moraine ridge that gives a wonderful view of the icefall. After spending an hour or so there, we return to the Phurkiya campsite. From here on, we trace our way back to Khati village for a night halt.

Ahead of Phurkiya

Altitude and distance profile graph for Pindari trek:

Here you will get a pictorial representation of the trail for your understanding (1 m  = 3.28 ft).

Pindari Glacier Trek: Distance vs Altitude plot

Best time for Pindari trek?

Pindar valley trek is done best in two distinct seasons.

Spring/Summer (April to June): Rhododendron and deposited snow at the head of the valley

Post Monsoon/autum (Oct and Nov): Clear skies, fall colours, colder temp.

What type of clothing should I bring for this trek?

It is important to carry proper clothing in this trek. Three layers of clothing is recommended in the campsite in early morning or evening, while you are outside tent.

  1. Base layer (moisture wicking layer): A quick-dry base layer (Dry-fit t-shirt, half or full sleeves).
  2. Mid layer (warm clothing): Usually a warm jacket (Synthetic/Hollow fibre/Fleece or a Down jacket, you may use combination of layers as well) ) – which constructs your  middle layer.
  3. Outer layer (weatherproofing): A windproof cum waterproof with hood/poncho/raincoat.

Check comprehensive List of things to carry in a himalayan trek or download the PDF. Also read how to choose right trekking gear before purchasing any gear.

Access to trek base (Loharkhet):

Based upon your need, we may arrange a pick up from Kathgodam to Loharkhet and a drop from Kharkiya to Kathgodam.

The fare in a Tata Sumo/similar Jeep is as per following:

Kathgodam or Haldwani to Loharkhet: ₹ 8,000
Kharkiya to Kathgodam or Haldwani: ₹ 10,000

You pay directly to the driver/transporter sharing qually among with the other trekkers. This cost is NOT included in the TREK FEE listed on the website.

All photos by Meenakshi Sarkar and Bijoy Chakraborty.

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Why treks with HT?

Trail Length70 Km
Highest Point3750 m/12300 ft
Expertise:10 years on ground experience
Support staff:Qualified local & office staff
Group size:Small groups up to 15
Insurance:Travel insured trek and tour itinerary
Easy Bookings:25% Booking Deposit

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